Three RMIT Vietnam alumni are seeing career success in Vietnam’s coffee industry.
Tran Dan Khanh, Nguyen Dang Khoa and Hoang Tuan Anh all have one thing in common: a successful career within one of the country’s largest agricultural industries.
In roles across retail, recruitment and trading, the trio share their passion for building a career in coffee.
Independent coffee retailer
Shelter Coffee and Tea owner Tran Dan Khanh said he first became interested in Italian-style coffee after experiencing the coffee culture in Melbourne, Australia.
And on return to Vietnam in 2011, the Diploma of Commerce alumnus decided to make his passion for coffee a career opportunity.
He developed his knowledge and experience in running a business by franchising an Urban Station coffee store as well as managing a B’s mart, one of the country’s convenience store chains.
After a year, Khanh felt confident to open Shelter Coffee and Tea in Le Thanh Ton Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
He described it as an ideal place for city workers in the mornings and young people in the evenings.
“June was the first anniversary of Shelter Coffee and Tea,” he said.
“Looking back, it was such a learning experience setting up the business, working with suppliers and getting the perfect cup of coffee to suit my customer’s tastes.
“I’m constantly learning and improving, which is the nature of running your own business.”
Major coffee brand
Recruitment Executive for Trung Nguyen Group Nguyen Dang Khoa said he spent six months after he graduated from RMIT Vietnam thinking about what he would do for his career.
Deciding on a role in human resources, the Bachelor of Commerce alumnus started his career with Mercedes Benz.
He made the switch from cars to coffee when he saw an opportunity with the Trung Nguyen Group.
Now he works in a role spanning the 80 Trung Nguyen Coffee outlets in Vietnam.
“We also have four outlets in Singapore and we’re working with partners in Dubai to open the first Trung Nguyen Coffee in the Middle East.”
His favourite part of the job is overseeing Trung Nguyen’s labour force, which presents both challenges and opportunities.
Green bean trader
Senior Trader Hoang Tuan Anh, used to work at trading and investment group Marubeni and has been trading green coffee beans for around four years.
He has now moved to Group Sopex Vietnam and has worked as supply chain coordinator since December 2014.
The Bachelor of Business (Economics and Finance) graduate explained how Vietnam has two main coffee varieties: Robusta and Arabica.
“Arabica contains less caffeine and has a better aroma compared with Robusta, with size or colour being used to distinguish the two,” he said.
“To trade green beans internationally, we need to overcome many obstacles such as shipping schedules, quality and processing control as well as risk management in price fluctuation.
“Everything must be in line with the schedule of the customers to deliver the goods in the right time at the right place all over the world,” he said.
In Tuan Anh’s opinion, although Vietnam can be considered as the biggest exporter together with Brazil, Vietnamese exporters still have a way to go to improve quality and procedure.
“It’s one of the most competitive markets in the world and we need to adapt to survive.”